Music News 2/13/2020


Puss N Boots (Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper), SISTER (Blue Note, $12.98) – Puss N Boots is the side project of singer-songwriters Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper. Beside originals, there are covers of songs by Tom Petty (“Angel Dream”), Dolly Parton (“The Grass Is Blue”), Paul Westerberg (“It’s a Wonderful Lie”), and Concrete Blonde (“Joey”).

Aaron Diehl, THE VAGABOND (Mack Avenue, $17.98) – Pianist Aaron Diehl is best known for his work with singer Cécile McLorin Salvant. On The Vagabond, he explores the trio format, supported by bassist Paul Sikivie and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. The majority of the album is comprised of originals; the last four pieces include works by piano masters John Lewis and Sir Roland Hanna, and arrangements of Prokofiev (March from Ten Pieces for Piano, Op. 12) and Philip Glass (Piano Etude No. 16). The album is dedicated to the late drummer and trio member, Lawrence Leathers.

NOTE: Aaron Diehl will give a solo performance at the Phillips Collection on Sunday, February 23

Gil Scott-Heron, WE’RE NEW AGAIN – A Reimagining by Makaya McCraven (XL, $17.99) – In 2010, Gil Scott-Heron (1949 – 2011) collaborated on I’m New Here with producer Richard Russell, his last album completed six months before his death. For the 10th anniversary of I’m New Here, drummer, producer, and “sonic collagist” Makaya McCraven has taken the vocal tracks and constructed all new acoustic backing tracks.

NOTE: Makaya McCraven will be part of trumpeter Marquis Hill’s band for a performance of Love Tape this Friday, February 14 at the Atlas Arts Center.

Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow, LIFE GOES ON (ECM, $18.98) – Pianist and composer Carla Bley has been writing memorable tunes since the early 1960s. On Life Goes On she unveils three new suites written for her trio with partner Steve Swallow on electric bass, and Andy Sheppard on tenor and soprano saxophones: “Life Goes On,” “Beautiful Telephones,” and “Copycat.”


MOZART: SONATAS FOR VIOLIN & FORTEPIANO VOL 2 (Harmonia Mundi, $19.98) – Violinist Isabelle Faust, playing a gut-string violin and Alexander Melnikov, playing on a replica of a 1795 Walter fortepiano, bring more delights by Mozart.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, ELGAR: CELLO CONCERTO (Decca, $14.98) – Mr. Kanneh-Mason, BBC Young Artist, releases his second album. The centerpiece is Elgar’s Cello Concerto, and there are more pieces by Elgar (Nimrod, Romance), Bridge, Bloch, Fauré, Klengel, as well as two traditional folk tunes. He is joined by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Rattle, and, on two selections, the Heath Quartet.

On Monday, Februrary 24, at 7 p.m, Washington Post art, architecture and music critic Phillip Kennicott will present his new book Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning (Norton, $26.95). The book is both an exploration on his fraught familial and musical relationship with his mother, his “complicated grief” after her death, and his journey in learning Bach’s Goldberg Variation as recommitment to music making.